What to know about shingle warranties.

One way of increasing the warranty period is by the manufacturers limiting the liability to manufacturing defects. This doesn’t mean that the length of the warranty directly correlates to the actual useful lifetime of the shingles themselves. What many homeowners look at when trying to decide what type or grade of shingles to invest in for their roofs is the length of the warranty.

As it stands, warranties for asphalt shingles, over the past 30 years, have increased about 50%. Part of this has to do with manufacturing techniques and the composition of raw materials used and the other part is directly affected by the actual rewording of the warranties themselves. By limiting the exposure to the manufacturer of the shingles through prorating the warranty, excluding transfer of the warranty to new homeowners and increasing installation requirements, a combination of factors come into play.

Here are some other considerations to be aware of when looking at different materials to be used in a roofing replacement and the warranties associated with those shingles. Also, limited warranties carry with them more investigation on the part of the homeowner. While tab asphalt shingles usually have a warranty period of twenty to thirty years, Architectural Laminate Asphalt Shingles may state a warranty period of thirty to fifty years on commercial buildings or “lifetime” on residential buildings.

Let’s take a look at what some “limited warranties” may contain and what a homeowner should be aware of. A limited warranty most likely carry a pro ration clause and may only cover the material costs. This means that disposal fees, underlayment, vents, flashings and other accessories would not be covered. More than that, (and this is a “biggie”) labor costs are usually NOT included.

So, how does that pro ration part of the warranty work? Let’s use a real simple example of 50 squares that initially cost $100 per square and that would give us an original cost of $5000 (50 squares x $100/square= $5000). If the number of months remaining on the warranty were 220 months (and the original warranty period were thirty years, or 360 months) we now divide the 220 by 360 and get 0.61, or 61%. Now, we multiply 61% times the $5000 to equal $3050. In this case the warranty will cover $3050 of the total $5000 invested when installed. Also, re-read the previous paragraph as a reminder as to what is actually covered:  shingles only.

Upgraded warranties are sometimes available (for a fee) and most times only through certified contractors. Also, using a certified contractor may give you the peace of mind in knowing that the shingles you invested in, and rely on the warranty given, were installed correctly, in the first place.